Yesterday I attended one memorable presentation by Bastian Bomhard of the United Nations Environment Programme‘s (UNEP) World Conservation Monitoring Centre (WCMC). He provided some sobering statistics.
“In April 2002, the Parties to the Convention committed themselves to achieve by 2010 a significant [my emphasis] reduction of the current rate of biodiversity loss at the global, regional and national level as a contribution to poverty alleviation and to the benefit of all life on Earth.”
Suffice it to say that we have failed to meet the target.
I won’t dwell too long on the fact that ‘…a significant reduction…’ is utterly meaningless, subjective and a useless policy tool (in my opinion) because it cannot be quantified as stated, Bastian did tell us that we failed even to obtain a ‘reduction’.
More specifically, parties to the CBD 2010 target agreed in 2010 to protect at least 10 % of the world’s ecological regions (ecoregions) by 2010 — almost half of the world’s terrestrial ecoregions do not meet even this modest proportional protection.
Another sobering fact is that the Alliance for Zero Extinction (AZE), the organisation who “… aims to prevent extinctions by identifying and safeguarding key sites where species are in imminent danger of disappearing”, lists nearly 600 sites worldwide, and only 35 % of those are completely protected. On average, only 42 % of each AZE site is protected.
On the positive side perhaps, although we haven’t yet succeeded in achieving the CBD’s modest target for most ecoregions, there still is an increasing number of protected areas over time (e.g., the World Database on Protected Areas lists over 130000 separated protected areas). So I guess our efforts are achieving something.
The greatest increases haven’t, contrary perhaps to popular opinion, been in the developed world – developing nations lead that particular pack. Also, Latin America now has some of the highest levels of protection worldwide.
Clearly we have a lot of work to do.